Why knowledge has intrinsic value? Why dow value knowledge for its own sake?

Not everyone thinks that knowledge has intrinsic value -- after all, many people purport to subscribe to the claim that ignorance is bliss. This was the position taken by Cypher in the movie The Matrix -- he thought he would have been better left in The Matrix, thinking that he was tasting a delicious steak, even though it was all just a fiction. Cypher's seems to be that knowledge lacks any intrinsic value.

But we can perform some thought experiments to check our own intuitions on the matter. Suppose some aliens kidnapped you, took you to their planet, performed some experiments on you, and then returned you to your bed. But before they did any of this they gave you some powerful drugs to keep from you any knowledge of the whole experience. In thinking about such a case, many people think they are worse off for not knowing what happened to them. This lack of knowledge seems bad, over and above the harm of the experiments themselves.

Or, if you've seen the movie The Truman Show, think about Truman and his predicament -- he's essentially the butt of a cosmic joke. Now the producers of the Truman Show are not quite as good as they should be, and so there are cracks in the facade that let Truman guess that things are not quite right. So suppose the producers were a little bit better and Truman really had no sense of what was going on. Everyone is treating him like he's the king of the world, and he's happy. Truman is deluded though -- he doesn't know the truth about his reality. In thinking about such a case, though, many people have the intuition that Truman is worse off for this lack of knowledge, even though he's happy. If you share this intuition, that would suggest that knowledge is valuable for its own sake and not because it facilitates something like happiness -- in this case, it might actually take away happiness.

Of course, this doesn't quite help to show why knowledge is intrinsic, but it should help to motivate the claim that it is.

There's an accessible treatment of some of these issues in Chapter 4 of Thomas Hurka's book, The Best Things in Life if you want to do some more reading on the topic.

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